Robata, a new restaurant in Khar, uses a Japanese culinary method to prepare authentic Indian fare. But how does this exotic fusion play on the palate?
Robata is a Japanese term, but don’t be quick to picture Sushi and Soba. Robata is an abbreviation of Robatayaki, which translates to fireside-cooking. It refers to a style of cooking that originated in Japan where families often sat around a hearth and enjoyed food on skewers. Sounds a bit like the traditional tandoor, doesn’t it? Considering all of this, we didn’t quite know what to expect at Robata in Khar.
Hyderabadi Biryani Chicken Achari Tikka. Pics/Nikesh Gurav
The exteriors of Robata, with its painted brick façade and lamppost, make it appear like a charming European cafe. The façade belies the spaciousness within; it’s divided into a bar area and restaurant, where the seating consists of comfortable basic chairs. The colour scheme of the exteriors — a deep magenta — is maintained on the inside.
We walked in for an early dinner and were the only customers around. First up, the staff brings out complimentary cheeselings and is quick to re-fill, when we run out. We breeze through the extensive menu and decide to start
with the Specials from the Robata Grill. This section of the menu, (the starters), are divided into Lamb, Fish, Chicken, Chef’s Recommendations, Rosali Kebab, and a Vegetarian sub-section. But when it comes to ordering, we’re told that only chicken and vegetarian options are available.
We chalk it up to teething troubles, and go with the Classic Chicken Tikka (achari flavour, Rs 280). The portions were large enough for three with average appetites. The meat is tender and we savour the tangy pickled flavour. But we suspect that Robata could well just be a Japanese term for desi tandoor.
We move to the mains. We opt for the Kadhai Mutton (Rs 450), which the menu describes as being cooked in Robata style, but once the dish arrives, on asking the staff, we’re told it’s not cooked in the Robata method and the dish reminded us of Bhuna Gosht. Despite not being what was promised, it was filled with flavour and went well with tawa chapattis.
We wrapped up the meal with Gulab Jamun (two pieces for Rs 120), which came with a hint of elaichi and doused in sweet syrup. We packed away Paneer Pasanda (Rs 290), which the menu described as a Paneer sandwich stuffed with mawa, dry fruits and cherry immersed in rich onion and cashew gravy with a hint of turmeric. But this dish too wasn’t quite as promised — not fitting the description of a sandwich, it was however, served in a creamy, cashew gravy. The sweet gravy went down well with the spicy Vegetable Hyderabadi Biryani (Rs 300), which was full of bits of vegetables and cooked in delectable spices; just as we like it.
At: Hotel Unicontinental, near Khar Railway Station, Khar (W).
Robata didn’t know we were there. the guide reviews anonymously and pays for its meals.